Ukip have triumphed in the UK European Elections. The BBC project that Ukip’s national share of the vote will be 28 per cent ahead of Labour on 25 per cent and the Tories on 24 per cent with the Greens on 8 per cent beating the Lib Dems who are on the 7 per cent into 4th.
This is the first time that anyone other than Labour or the Conservatives has won a nationwide election in more than a century. Nigel Farage and his party has given the British political system a mighty shake this morning. They have demonstrated that, in these elections at least, they can put together a coalition that can defeat both main parties.
The big development in this campaign has been Ukip making inroads into the Labour electoral base. The Ukip vote is no longer just made up of disaffected Tories worried about the loss of sovereignty.
Ukip has done this by putting immigration at the centre of its message. Ukip has a unique selling point on immigration because it wants to leave the EU. This means that, unlike the other parties, it can claim it would stop EU immigration into Britain. No other party can make that pledge because it is incompatible with the UK remaining in the EU.
There were, obviously, other factors behind the Ukip vote. The party undoubtedly benefitted from the anti-politics mood in the country, the desire to give the political establishment a kicking. While the fact that wages have stagnated under both Gordon Brown’s government and the coalition also contributed to the party’s appeal.
Ukip’s victory will lead to a lot of soul-searching in Westminster. Labour will wonder how they as the main opposition party have failed to win these elections; no opposition party has ever won a general election without winning the preceding European Election. For their part, the Tories will worry that they have lost the mantle of being Britain’s Eurosceptic party. As for the Liberal Democrats, this result shows just how far they have fallen nationally.
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